The San Francisco 49ers travel to face Washington in Week 7, and it’s no surprise they’re a sizable favorite. DraftKings Sportsbook opened the 49ers as a 9.5-point favorite, and the line has since come down to nine. The point total sits at 41.
San Francisco is unbeaten through five games, and is coming off an impressive thumping of the Los Angeles Rams in Week 6. The team rolled through the Bucs, Bengals, and Steelers their first three weeks, and while they were unbeaten, proper respect was not entirely forthcoming. However, a thrashing of the Browns and then a strong defensive showing against the Rams have people realizing this team is for real.
Road favorites are almost always at least a little bit dicey, and when you get up near double digits, it becomes even more so. I completely understand why people are hesitant to lay nine points on the road. Washington is not a good football team, but they have some positives on the roster. And many are arguing the 49ers are looking at a letdown coming off a huge divisional win the week before.
I disagree with the notion of a letdown in this particular situation. I won’t say the 49ers are immune to letdowns, but facing Washington is a unique circumstance. Kyle Shanahan served as offensive coordinator in Washington from 2010 to 2013 while his dad was head coach. Dan Snyder cleaned house, and it’s safe to say Kyle still has some hard feelings about the situation. He was asked about it on Wednesday, and had a pointed response.
What was the best part about coaching in Washington?
“Being able to work with my dad and be around some other good coaches.”
What was the worst part?
“Everything else. I liked a lot of the players, some good people.”
There are no guarantees the team will be able to run up the score, and a letdown is very much a possibility. But if Kyle Shanahan has a chance, I have a strong feeling he will want to run up the score to some degree. I’m not talking about throwing deep late in the final minutes while up a decent amount, but I don’t see him taking his foot off the pedal while his team can inflict some more punishment.
The line sitting just below ten ideally removes an ugly backdoor cover from this situation. A late field goal down ten would be frustrating, but I just don’t think it comes down to that. The 49ers are the clearly better team, and there’s some extra incentive to send a message. I’ll lay the points in that situation.